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Blonde: A Novelby Joyce Carol Oates
"The final question, of course, and the ultimate test of Blonde's success: Do we believe it, do we buy it, and this version of her? The answer: Yes, we do believe that this is the 'true' Marilyn Monroe — inasmuch as we'll allow ourselves to believe that there is a "truth" behind an image. By the end of Blonde, not only do we feel as if we know her, we feel as if we are her. She is as searching, conflicted, confused, inspired, and passionate as we hope ourselves to be." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
"In Blonde, Joyce Carol Oates has produced a stupefying novel of iconicity. Though Oates has fused some real people into composites, and invented some characters and events out of whole cloth, she has stuck vampirically close to the details of Monroe's biography....Attempting to embellish chronology with an inner life, driving her narrative not with any kind of plot but with the leitmotifs of innocence, fantasy, sexual exploitation and Hollywood baseness, Oates gets very intimate indeed." Lee Siegel, The New Republic (read The New Republic's entire review)
Synopses & Reviews
In her most ambitious work to date, Joyce Carol Oates boldly reimagines the inner, poetic, and spiritual life of Norma Jeane Baker — the child, the woman, the fated celebrity and idolized blonde the world came to know as Marilyn Monroe. In a voice startlingly intimate and rich, Norma Jeane tells her own story of an emblematic American artist — intensely conflicted and driven — who had lost her way. A powerful portrait of Hollywood's myth and an extraordinary woman's heartbreaking reality, Blonde is a sweeping epic that pays tribute to the elusive magic and devastation behind the creation of the great twentieth-century American star.
"[T]he book equivalent of a tacky television mini-series....Ms. Oates gives us...pages and pages of the sort of heavy-breathing romance-novel prose one would think beneath a writer of her distinction." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Despite Oates' many disclaimers, the emergent portrayal is one of scorn for Marilyn Monroe. Without denying Oates' right to convey it, one may, with equal authority, assert one's indignation." Los Angeles Times
"[F]at, messy and fierce. It's part gothic, part kaleidoscopic novel of ideas, part lurid celebrity potboiler, and it is seldom less than engrossing." Laura Miller, New York Times Book Review
"Hyperreal and overwrought, the book stuns by its relentless energy...a staggeringly effective piece of craftsmanship....It's eccentric, exhausting — and remarkable. Part horror, part melodrama, part wildly adventurous meditation..." Pam Rosenthal, Salon.com
In her most ambitious work to date (and the basis for the April 2001 CBS-TV miniseries), one of America's most celebrated writers examines the inner, spiritual life of the woman who became Hollywood's most enduring legend — Marilyn Monroe — as seen through her own eyes.
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. In 2003 she received the Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature and the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.
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